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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
7th June 2015

On the Grace of the Blessed Sacrament by St. Ambrose of Milan

Moses was holding a rod, he cast it down and it became a serpent (Exodus 4:3-4). Again, he took hold of the tail of the serpent and it returned to the nature of a rod. By virtue of the prophetic office there were two changes, of the nature both of the serpent and of the rod. The people of the fathers thirsted, Moses touched the rock, and water flowed out of the rock (Exodus 17:6). Did not grace work a result contrary to nature, so that the rock poured forth water, which by nature it did not contain? Marah was a most bitter stream, so that the thirsting people could not drink. Moses cast wood into the water, and the water lost its bitterness, which grace of a sudden tempered (Exodus 15:25). In the time of Elisha the Prophet one of the sons of the Prophets lost the head from his axe, which sank. He who had lost the iron asked Elisha, who cast in a piece of wood and the iron swam. This, too, we clearly recognise as having happened contrary to nature, for iron is of heavier nature than water.

We observe, then, that grace has more power than nature, and yet so far we have only spoken of the grace of a Prophet's blessing. But if the blessing of man had such power as to change nature, what are we to say of that divine Consecration where the very words of the Lord and Saviour operate? For that sacrament which you receive is made what it is by the word of Christ. But if the word of Elijah had such power as to bring down fire from Heaven, shall not the word of Christ have power to change the nature of the elements? You read concerning the making of the whole world: "He spoke and they were made, He commanded and they were created". Shall not the word of Christ, which was able to make out of nothing that which was not, be able to change things which already are into what they were not? For it is not less to give a new nature to things than to change them.

The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: "This is My Body" (Matthew 26). Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the Consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the Consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood. And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks.

Christ, then, feeds His Church with these sacraments, by means of which the substance of the soul is strengthened, and seeing the continual progress of her grace, He rightly says to her: "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed". By which He signifies that the mystery ought to remain sealed up with you, that it be not violated by the deeds of an evil life, and pollution of chastity, that it be not made known to thou, for whom it is not fitting, nor by garrulous talkativeness it be spread abroad among unbelievers. Your guardianship of the faith ought therefore to be good, that integrity of life and silence may endure unblemished.

On the Mysteries 9:50-55.